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Matisse's Sculpture

Un libro in lingua di Ellen Mcbreen edito da Yale Univ Pr, 2013

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"In 1906, soon after Matisse acquired his first African sculpture, he began the first of his nudes based on erotic and ethnographic photographs. This reading of Matisse's early sculpture examines the artist's appropriations from two seemingly disparate visions of the body: commercial nude photography and African sculpture. Why would Matisse synthesize mechanically made traces of actual flesh with the hand-carved abstractions of Pende, Senufo, Baga, and Baule figural sculptures? In the twentieth century, halftone technology in France changed economics of photographic reproduction. The inexpensive illustrated revues where Matisse found substitutes for living models were full of plates, making the female body available for mass consumption as never before. One of the main appeals of African sculpture to Matisse and others was that it appeared as a productive antithesis to this; it represented an alternative experience and understanding of human sexuality. In this, Matisse's primitivism was as much a system of beliefs projected onto African sculptures and actual African bodies, as a series of visual and conceptual borrowings from them. To support this idea, the book uses primary materials from turn-of-the-century ethnography and comparative anthropology, popular erotica, and the visual culture of French colonialism. It draws connections between artistic debts and the ideological and historical forces informing them, and plots new study in a now-familiar story of early twentieth-century modernist primitivism.This book challenges an established convention about Matisse--a painter who sculpted merely as a "rest"-- proposing how the sculpture's play with period perceptions of race and gender is key to understanding the artist's fascinations with cultural and sexual origins"--

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